Law extending Ombudsperson’s powers comes into force



The Human Rights Ombudsperson’s website informs that the law on amendments to the Law on the Human Rights Ombudsperson regarding a national preventive mechanism came into force on 4 November.

The report states that the law has now given the Ombudsperson the right to submit proposals regarding improvements to legislation regarding human rights; have access to documents including those containing information on restricted access and to receive copies of these from the authorities; bodies of local self-government  ; civic associations; at enterprises; institutions and organizations regardless of their form of ownership; Prosecutor’s offices.  These include cases which are before the courts.

The Human Rights Ombudsperson will be able to make spot checks of SIZO [remand centres) and prisons, as well as temporary holding facilities for foreign nationals and stateless persons, and a large number of other institutions which people may not leave of their own free will.  The list includes psychiatric institutions, “psycho-neurological institutions” (for people with serious psychological disorders usually making them unable to cope by themselves), institutions for the disabled and for the elderly.

As reported, one of Ukraine’s international commitments under the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture [OPCAT] is the creation of a State body responsible for prevention of ill-treatment in places of confinement and restriction of liberty.  Ukraine was supposed to have developed a national preventive mechanism within a year of ratifying OPCAT (in 2006). 

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